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Gilas Pilipinas Slams a Territorial Claim with Victory Against Team China: FIBA World Cup Unleashes Flood of Joy and Memes

Gilas Pilipinas FIBA World Cup
When the court extends beyond the game: Gilas Pilipinas champions territorial victory with a slam dunk! Meme from Magic32.

“Ball is life, but perhaps for Filipinos, ball is more than life – it’s a symbol of reclaiming pride, space, and a bit of the West Philippine Sea!”

With cheers echoing as if to resound across the sea, the nation found itself chanting heartily, “Basketball, basketball, ang sarap-sarap mag-basketball,” a nostalgic nod to the timeless track from Viva Hot Babes that perfectly encapsulated the Philippines’ exhilaration post-Gilas Pilipinas’ thunderous triumph over China’s Team Dragon in the 2023 FIBA World Cup. It’s as if the buzz of victory resounded all the way to the disputed waters, proclaiming, “We won a sea… of points!”

The scoreboards couldn’t hold back the laughter as the 21-point margin seemed to jestingly mimic the country’s “21-gun salute” to its own victory, an echo of the triumphant 2016 international court ruling on the West Philippine Sea. Social media erupted with delightful banter, memes, and even playful territorial claims that traded the angst of political skirmishes for cheeky basketball references. It wasn’t just a game, it was the nation serving humor in a court of joy, not a court of law.

Ever seen territorial disputes in sports? Well, one barangay in the Philippines resolved a battle for court space between a basketball team and a volleyball team by mixing and matching the play, literally, both games happening at the same time on the same court! An embodying the true spirit of Bayanihan in the most entertaining way possible, proving that if we can share a court, why not a sea?

How about territorial disputes among relatives? You know, the kind that has family members engaging in “agawang lupa”, just like a tug of war with a twist of “sa akin ipinamana ni ate ang lupa, ito ang titulo”. Check out your local Pinoy teleserye to see how these real-life scenes are played out onscreen complete with some of the finest acting around. And speaking of entertainment, Filipinos still enjoy Chinese dramas (shout out to those F4 fanatics), food, and products (Hello China Town and Resto) regardless of the West Philippine Sea issue. It is not hypocrisy, but setting boundaries in terms of not mixing and matching political issues with the interesting culture of China.

As Filipinos embraced this grand basketball fiesta with open hearts, they also showed the world a unique ability to love beyond borders, keeping a warm place in their hearts for Chinese dramas and culinary delights, proving that Filipinos are experts in the art of “separating the rice from the chaff” — enjoying the beautiful Chinese culture without letting politics spoil the broth. And speaking of dishes, here is a breakdown of the recipe for mixing and matching basketball with the West Philippine Sea.

How the West Was Won

The West Philippine Sea (WPS) refers to the maritime areas on the western side of the Philippine archipelago, including the Luzon Sea, the waters around and within, and adjacent to the Kalayaan Island Group and Bajo de Masinloc. The Philippines claims an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the resource-abundant area. As of 2020, approximately 7% of the nation’s fisheries production came from the West Philippine Sea. The sea adds to the nation’s unique biodiversity and acts as a buffer against storms and flooding, in addition to offering a treasure trove of oil and natural gas deposits.

When China started preventing Filipino boats and vessels from entering the waters around the Scarborough Shoal in 2012, international tensions increased. Since then, China has repeatedly engaged in a number of intimidating actions, including harassing Filipino fishermen, prohibiting them from conducting oil and gas explorations, building artificial islands in the WPS, fishing inside the Philippine EEZ, and stationing military vessels nearby.

The Philippines, who saw this as a direct assault on their sovereignty, filed a new claim to the WPS and its economic resources with the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. In 2016, the arbitration court ruled in favor of the Philippines. Conferring a unanimous award to the Philippines, the tribunal conclusively decided that China had violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

EXPAND YOUR KNOWLEDGE about the West Philippine Sea here.

Regaining Our Lost Basketball Glory

The Philippines was once regarded as the powerhouse team in Asia. Additionally, seven Olympic Basketball Tournaments and six FIBA World Cups have featured the nation. Filipinos are known to be a basketball-crazy nation for this very reason; they’ve got the swag and legends to prove their dominant play.

The Philippines became a member of the Federation Internationale de Basketball (FIBA) through the Basketball Association of the Philippines in 1936. The Philippines took part in the 1954 edition of the FIBA World Championship in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, after missing the 1950 edition of the inaugural FIBA Basketball World Cup (known through 2010 as the FIBA World Championship), which was held in Argentina.

However, even though they were not able to attend the 1950 edition of the FIBA Basketball World Cup, Team Philippines had no idea that the 1954 edition was the beginning of their historical winnings in FIBA, as the Philippines won the bronze medal with a 5-2 win-loss record in the games of the Final Round, and Carlos Loyzaga received the nod for the FIBA World Mythical Five and finished third in the world championship in scoring (148 points, or 16.4 points per game).

The Philippines won the first FIBA Asia Championship in the 1960s, with Carlos Badion being named the competition’s most valuable player.

In addition to the bronze medal at the FIBA World Cup and the fifth-place finish at the Olympics, the Philippines has won five FIBA Asia Cups (previously known as the FIBA Asia Championship), four Asian Games men’s basketball gold medals, eight SEABA Championships, all but two Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball gold medals, and the most titles in the Southeast Asia Basketball Association men’s championship.

Philippine Basketball Heritage

We not only tip our hats to the present-day champions but take a moment to revere the legendary Carlos ‘Caloy’ M. Loyzaga, a beacon of Philippine basketball heritage, whose spirit seemed to guide our players, all the way from his perch at the FIBA Hall of Fame. This victory was for him, a statement that the Filipino spirit in basketball remains untamed, unforgettable, and ever-vibrant.

The Philippines’ hosting of the 2023 FIBA World Cup was heralded by Loyzaga’s induction into the FIBA Hall of Fame. The most revered name in Philippine basketball and considered the greatest Filipino player of all time was enshrined posthumously into the FIBA Hall of Fame in Switzerland as a member of the Class of 2023.

Caloy Loyzaga was truly a legendary proof of every Filipino’s enthusiasm and love for the basketball sport. His being the first Filipino player to be named into the FIBA Hall of Fame won’t be the last. A lot of Filipinos continue to make their marks in basketball.

DISCOVER MORE About Carlos Loyzaga here.

On With the Show!

While Team Philippines and Team China may have been neck and neck in terms of win-loss scorecards at the FIBA World Cup, the recent showdown reflected a momentous upper hand for Gilas Pilipinas, lighting the path to the FIBA Olympics Qualifying Tournament. The nation swells with pride, a nostalgia bubbling up as we’re reminded of the assertive 2016 win in the West Philippine Sea dispute, a narrative of standing tall and holding ground, etched not just in papers but in the spirit of the people. It was more than a game, it was a celebration of Filipino grit, humor, and joy, a teleserye in the grandest scale where every slam dunk echoed with a resonance that spoke of dreams, persistence, and a heart that beats unyieldingly for its people.

RELIVE the game between the Philippines and China here.

The West Philippine Sea rivalry between the Philippines and China is like the “Ang Probinsyano” series real-life edition, a long-lasting bardagulan with a lot of ‘OMGiness’ plot twists and boldness shown by our country (Cardo Dalisay yarn?). It is also giving a Hari ng Tondo vibe when if China says (in Chinese, of course) “Akin ang Lupang ito!” The Philippines will always retort: “Hindi, kay Juan (and Juana)!”

Be a part of this jovial narrative! SHARE THIS ARTICLE with every Juan and Juana you know, spread the laughter, the pride, and the spirit of camaraderie that this grand victory has ignited. Let’s keep the ball of joy bouncing — share now and shoot that joyful shot! Let’s celebrate this victory, one share, one laugh at a time!

Good News Pilipinas is a Lasallian Scholarum Awardee. TELL US your good news story tips by messaging GoodNewsPilipinas.com on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram, or e-mailing editor@goodnewspilipinas.com

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Junie Mae N. Batocael
Junie Mae N. Batocael
Not just any student, but a BA Journalism student currently in my senior year! A future-known journalist, and yup - that`s me, Junie. Feature writer and editor of Ang Kawayan (2011–2012), Ang Trailblazer (2013–2015), and Panitik Imuseno (2016) serving you with factual good news.

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